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AEC Annual Disclosures Highlights Flaws

Nick Mckim

Nick Mckim  -  Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Tags: Donation Disclosure, Electoral Reform

Tasmania’s lack of political donation disclosure laws mean that the Australian Electoral Commission’s 2013-14 disclosures have not revealed the true picture of who is funding whom.

“This latest round of disclosures unfortunately does not tell the full story, because the current law allows political parties to avoid scrutiny simply by receiving multiple donations under the reporting threshold of $12,400,” Greens Justice spokesperson Nick McKim MP said.

“The Tasmanian Liberal Party’s disclosure form does not detail any donations below the $12 400 threshold, so it is only by going to the donor disclosures that it is exposed the Tasmanian Liberals received a donation of $11, 000 from big tobacco company Philip Morris.”

“Ironically, big tobacco is being more transparent than the Tasmanian Liberal Party.”

“Similarly we see the Tasmanian Labor Party only disclose a $20, 000 donation from Mulawa Management, part of the Federal Group.  Yet the return submitted by the Federal Group discloses an additional donation of $5000 undisclosed by Labor, taking their total amount received to $25, 000.”

“While neither party is breaking the federal law, these examples highlight the need for comprehensive state-based political disclosure laws for Tasmania.”

“Due to the time lag in the federal system it can sometimes be up to 18 months before the donations received are disclosed publicly - that’s why we need a real-time disclosure regime so Tasmanians know who has given what to whom when we next go to the polls.”

“Instead of treating Tasmanians like mushrooms, Premier Hodgman should be letting the disinfectant of sunlight shine on Tasmania’s democracy,” Mr McKim said.

The Greens’ proposed state-based political donations reforms include:

  • Real time disclosure of political donations (to both parties and candidates), to be published online.
  • Lower the threshold for public disclosure and ban repeat donations from a single source.
  • Introduce an expenditure cap for individual candidates and registered political parties contesting House of Assembly elections.